With literally several thousand colors to choose from, granite countertops are one of the most confusing things to shop for.
It really doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few tips that will make the process much easier for you:
First thing: Forget the square foot price.
Look at your bottom line. I say this because here are all the possible extras that can go with a project like this:
- Tear out – will vary depending on the material
- Disposal of torn out materials
- Type of edge selected
- Under mount – the cut out for your sink
- Cooktop cut out
- The sink itself
- The plumbing for the sink and any other item like cooktops, etc.
- The holes for your faucets
- Sealing the stone
- Freight/shipping of your slab
- Any other additional cuts due to walls/angles
This is because to make up for the ridiculously low advertised square foot price,some may charge you extra for any or all of the above items. Your landed cost can be several hundreds more than the advertised square foot price.
This is a lame approach that’s both deceptive and confusing. I keep it simple by giving you a turnkey price for the entire job. I’ll work with you to select a color that makes your room as beautiful as it can be. This includes coordinating with your cabinet color/s, floor tile and applicance/wall colors.
Your Countertops MUST Be Sealed
You are buying a natural stone. As hard as granite is, it needs to be sealed as it’s micro pores will otherwise readily absorb stains. I’ll ensure they are correctly sealed for you with a premium stone sealer.
Picking Out Your Slab
I strongly recommend selecting your own slab/s and not letting me or anyone else do it for you. Since granite or any natural stone has so much variation in it, what you see on a small sample or TV will likely not match what you expect. At any time you need help, I personally accompany clients to slabyards/showrooms during this process to make the selection process easy for you. That way you see the colors in a large area and precisely which slab/s will go in your home.
These stone places are all over Dallas and they’re all located within close proximity of each other.
If you go alone, prepared to be overwhelmed so…don’t!
A Complimentary Backsplash
Nothing completes the look in a kitchen or where granite countertops are installed like a great looking backsplash. Although small when compared to the countertop areas and rest of the kitchen, it can definitely have a striking appeal when done correctly.
When you combine contrasting colors, inserts, borders and the like with under cabinet lighting, it just gives the whole area an extra level of class. I’ve done countless backsplashes with many different design ideas and will work with you to give you something timeless.
Not only will it look great, but will be functional and easy to maintain – a very much overlooked quality by many folks.
If you’re looking for engineered hardwood flooring here in Dallas, TX then it’s important you understand a few things up front:
All hardwood flooring installation is not the same irrespective of whether it’s engineered or solid.
Some woods are harder than others. Some change colors more than others. Some are thicker. Some are hand scraped. If you want to ignore all of this, then price is all you have to go on. Unfortunately, 95% of retailers out there advertise low prices without actually explaining to you what you are getting.
Well let me tell you by first addressing the most common “deal” scam.
It goes something like this. You see hardwood floors advertised for a ridiculously low price like:
“$3.99 SF installed!”
And you think “OMG!”
Put your car keys and wallet down.
If you see this, you are likely about to buy a load of junk and/or get the add-on deal scam.
A wood that cheap, is very likely to be a batch of seconds not really made for a family home. They usually carry no warranty and are widely used to flip houses or rental properties. The more common ploy is to advertise an outrageously low square foot price and then make up the difference on the extras.
These include transition pieces like reducers, T-molds and molding like quarter round/shoe molding and/or baseboards, floating or leveling the floor, moving furniture and restoring it, tear out and disposal of old floor and sometimes even the shortage if it happens.
It is actually industry standard practice in Dallas to charge for these extras but when folks “make up the difference” on these, pricing can get outrageous ($8/linear foot to supply and install baseboards is just one example I’ve seen!). So you end up paying the same if not more than anywhere else.
If you are going to invest in your home, slow down and know what you are buying. Don’t let anyone sell you a price. A smarter way to do it is find a good quality wood you love, and then shop for the best overall deal.
Wood has to be acclimated
The larger the area, the more critical this becomes. It should sit in your home between 24-48 hours before a board is installed, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. For solid wood or bamboo – up to 7-10 days days prior to installation. Failure to do so will void most manufacturer warranties as well as increasing the chances of your floor buckling.
We follow the National Wood Flooring Association’s (NWFA) recommended guidelines when acclimating wood floors.
I cannot stress this enough – you MUST use the correct manufacturer recommended adhesive OR better for the best installation and keep your warranty intact.
This is one of the first shortcuts many take in order to give you “a great deal”. They buy a cheap glue for $45 a bucket, slap it on and your warranty is instantly void.
We only use the highest grade glue available. Just to give you an idea, it runs around $145/bucket and has the highest urethane content of any on the market. In my and my installers combined 50 years in flooring, there has never been an issue with the glue. Not once.
It’s really simple – use the best materials, get the best installation.
Trust me, there are many people out there quite prepared to use cheap glue and when issues come up later, simply tell you: I lied.
Unfortunately, this is very prevalent in the industry. Usually, it’s your actual area + 10% to allow for waste, cuts, etc. That’s completely different to deliberately over measuring your area to get more money from you.
This is where you’re told your area is 1,000 square feet (when it’s really 650). They then say 1000 square feet x $5.99 = about 6 grand. What a deal eh?! Well, based on your actual measurement of 650, you are about to pay $2100 more than you have to. The “$5.99” wood just became $9.20 a square foot right under your nose.
Are you buying floors or a used car?
You may have come across this before:
Well, the total is $12,500 for the whole job but if you sign right now, my manger said he can do it for $6,500.
What to do: RUN.
I will not insult your intelligence. Here’s another one:
“Yes maam, you can drag furniture across this (wood) floor and nothing will happen to it!”
No you cannot. Such statements lead customers to mistreat their floors then complain when it doesn’t do what it’s not supposed to.
Just find someone you can trust!
All these circus acts come in many different forms. If you come across a new one, please let me know as I’d love to add it to the list.
The Bottom Line
Folks, this industry is like any other – you get what you pay for. I will NOT take any shortcuts in your home be it – materials, labor or design. I’ll work with you to give you the look you love and get it done right, first time.
Where Do I Start?
This question almost always comes up on every bathroom project we do.
“Ok, I’m redoing my master bathroom and want to change out my shower glass, fixtures, floors, etc. There’s so much to consider – can you put things in order for me? ”
Step #1: Tear-out/Demolition
The installer tears out your old tile and strips the walls down. He may leave it like this or put up the backerboard. You want to have your new shower valve/head ready by this initial stage for the plumber.
Step #2: Plumber
When doing a shower, the plumber needs to come in and change your valve out (if you are replacing your faucets and shower head).
He may also be required to reposition the shower head as it will no longer be centered. This happens if you plan on extending your shower pan. Be sure the shower head plumbing is re-aligned otherwise it will look LOL when it’s done.
While he is there, he can also install things like tub faucets, sinks, commodes or anything else requiring plumbing on your remodel.
Critical: Get a plumber in advance so they don’t charge you a short notice fee. You will need to coordinate the plumbing here or…
Alternatively, I can take care of it all for you.
No tiling can begin on the shower until the plumbing is squared away.
Step #3: Shower gets built and tiled
Your shower has to be completely finished (tiled) before the glass/enclosure can even be measured. If there is just a slight discrepancy in the gap tolerance, that’s enough for water to seep through and give you a welcoming puddle every time you step out of your shower.
Once everything is finished, measuring for your new shower enclosure can begin.
The single most critical thing when redoing your shower is getting an installer that knows what they’re doing. You cannot “wing” a shower.
If the installer for example, doesn’t float the pan correctly and water manages to seep underneath, you’re going to have a dead animal smell (rotting materials) and water stains coming soon to a theatre near you.
If you are getting a built in shampoo box or seat built, make sure the installer gives them enough angle so water drips DOWN to the floor, and not straight so it simply gathers on top. Such a simple thing escapes so many installers.
The shower pan itself also needs to angle correctly towards the drain so water actually goes down the drain!
Step #4: Shower Glass
Once this all done, your unit is pretty much ready. Your shower glass unit can be measured for and it usually takes between 7-10 days to order, cut and install it. In the meantime, any sealing of the tile (if doing natural stone) or grout can be done during this time.
One last tip…
Some folks ask what they can do to minimize their grout uglying out. There are a few things:
- Use a larger size tile. The bigger the tile, the fewer grout lines you have.
- Using stone means your grout lines can be closed right up to a few credit cards thick. If you go with tile and want the least amount of grout lines, go with a rectified tile. That allows for the narrowest grout lines possible on a tile.
- If you really want to, you can seal your grout which can help with stain resistance.